NOTE: New experiment from one of the Kings of Illinois blogs, Rich Miller -- I'm cross-posting some of my posts to Illinoize, a new cross-ideological blog of Illinois bloggers that write about state and local politics and policy. It's here.
I attended the Illinois Coalition for Immigrants and Refugee Rights convention today at Navy Pier.
This is a well-organized, well-funded, very diverse and very savvy organization.
And they are making Jim Oberweis into a pinata.
They ran his campaign ad during their convention where he demonized the 10,000 job-seeking immigrants who come to Illinois every day, and the bipartisan denunciation of Oberweis was strong and it resonated.
Then, when two immigrants, a man and a woman, told their story about working in an Oberweis dairy for far less than minimum wage....well, there wasn't much steam left in the Oberweis brand for this crowd.
Up next: Mark Kirk.
Representative Kirk comments that discrimination in customs and homeland security intelligence and enforcement against young, Arab men is the next target of the coalition. They are calling quite strongly for an apology. The Sun-Times may have already leapt to Representative Kirk's defense, but I think this is a weak spot for Kirk that the coalition is pressing.
Diverse coalitions coalesce best with an enemy. Oberweis has already backed away from this anti-immigrant positions, and although the damage is done for him on any statewide race, he isn't much of an enemy any more. If Mark Kirk isn't careful, he may be filling that role of the anti-immigrant villain, which is not a good place to be for an elected official in a swing district where lots of Tribune reporters and editors live.